EB17

NORTHWESTERN Dr Alex Nagle or Dr Eric Hungness - Chicago, Il

486 posts in this topic

Hi Pierce 1030- I sent you a message!

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Pierce, when I went through the program (mostly in late 2013) I only had to go downtown about once a month. Going downtown can be a hassle but the program was worth it for me, I felt very prepared for my surgery when it's happened last February.

Best of luck to everyone where ever you go. I try to go down and participate in the panel on occasion, I'll try to get there this month.

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Pierce, I hope your information session yesterday was informative. Turns out the one that was supposed to be next Thursday will be tomorrow instead, and I'm going. I have my intake form filled out and an appointment scheduled with a PCP next week.

Turns out that the doctor I saw for weight loss in 2008-2009 is still in practice part time, and I was able to get in easily. He has a special interest in weight loss, we have a good rapport, and I'm looking forward to seeing him again.

I rescheduled my Northshore appointment and will see Dr. Denham. Regardless of where i go, it's worth two opinions for something as major as WLS. Interestingly, when I switched to him, I was sent materials to review before my appointment, which didn't happen with the other doctor in the same practice.

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Not impressed. Dr. Nagle spoke. Since I'm already knowledgeable, he didn't say anything I didn't already know. He seemed to be stalling for time then excused himself to find Laurie. After 45 minutes I called and got the answering service. They advised that the office was closed and they couldn't page anybody. 15 minutes later I gave up and left. No nutritionist. No patient panel.

I filled out their detailed application, made an appointment to see a new PCP, took a half day off work, made child care arrangements, paid $22 for parking, and my reward was to be abandoned for an hour in the conference room with all the other patients who came for the orientation session.

Not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling about this place.

Edited by WendyH

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At the seminar, Dr. Nagle mentioned that the process generally takes 4-6 months but now I'm reading 6-8. I'm guessing it's 6 for most folks? Can someone chime in, please?

 

I'll also say that I was sort of expecting to get more guidance through this process. So far, all I've gotten are check lists and phone numbers. My first appt with the NP was pretty rushed. I'm hoping I'll get a bit more direction after I meet with the surgeon? I know they have a TON of patients but I was expecting a little more guidance, based on the reputation of the program.

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Wendy - that's awful! What a snafu on their part. FYI- Always get your parking ticket validated at the info desk - it lowers the cost to $14.

Everybreakingwave - My info session to surgery date was five months. Personally, I wonder how many people who attend the info session end up getting the surgery. There are a lot of "hoops" to jump through (for your benefit/success, and insurance qualification). It gets more personalized the further you progress, but I never felt as if someone was holding my hand throughout the process. Although if you are nice & personable people will take you under their wing and may be able to help speed things up. Overall, you have to be on top of everything in order to have a "quick" surgery date.

My prelim consultation at North Shore felt like it was more hands on. NW is more of a machine due to a) their reputation as the best, B) sheer volume of patients (they are also one of the few centers of excellence to accept Medicare. That being said, I went back to NorthShore twice for post-op support groups, and they were CLUELESS. No one at the front desk or patient coordinators could find any info on meetings (which seems like it would be straightforward, right?!). I left my cell number, and when they called I went in & the info was from a year & a half prior.

All I can speak for is my personal experience which is:

North Shore: more "hand holding", convenient to those north of the city, less organized, lower success rate (based on my WLS pdychologist's practice experience - which is heavily used by both hospitals)

Northwestern: more of a factory line approach, best regarded doctors/dietitians, high success rates with organized post-op meetings, have to drive to the city & pay for parking.

Again, this is based on my own personal experiences with the VH NorthShore location & Dr. Nagle, Laurie, & Kaitlin at NMH.

PapaG likes this

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That's super helpful, thank you. I guess I'm just nervous about things going smoothly so I'm getting paranoid that I'm missing something. Sounds like it's mostly up to me, which is fine. I'm following the steps and doing everything as quickly as I can. I don't want to rush anything but I'm also trying to stay on a clear path, if that makes sense. I have an appt with a health psychologist this week and then the next step after that is to meet with Dr. Nagle. One step at a time!

EB17 likes this

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You guys are killin' me. ;)

I had my consultation at Northshore scheduled for the 26th but canceled my new PCP appointment that I scheduled for this Thursday to get into the Northwestern program to make room for the Northshore surgeon appointment when his office called to push my appointment to March.

Then I see EB17's message, and I'm back on the fence again.

I need to step back and take a breath. I'll continue down both paths for a while longer. I really want what's best for me, but man this is tough.

Thank you all for challenging me and leading me to keep my options open. I will figure this thing out.

P.S. EB17, they offered to validate my parking, but I'd parked on the wrong lot. Live and learn.

Edited by WendyH

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Well, despite the fiasco that was my information session, Northwestern really is the program I want. I canceled my other consult and faxed in my application today, and within hours I had my appointment with Kaitlyn scheduled. It's a month away, but it will be here soon enough.

Thanks so much for your perspectives, and especially to EB17 who walked me through a lot of the ins and outs of the program. I figured it wouldn't hurt to get the psych consult out of the way, so that's done. Now all I need to is hang onto the reports from my GI testing when they arrive in the mail and wait until my appointment.

Thanks again.

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Glad to hear things are progressing for you.

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Finally making progress in my process. Psychologist appt Wednesday , intake March 19th and dietitian scheduled for April 1st. Hope that you all are having success finding appointments I have found that they are a very popular group!

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Northwestern is always very busy and it's common to wait for appointments. Tomorrow is my year anniversary checkup and I made the appointment 2 months ago.

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I wish I had known I could have made the dietician appointment when I scheduled the intake appointment.  My intake appointment is 3/23, and I called first thing this morning for the dietician appointment. The earliest I could get was April 15, so I'm looking at over 6 weeks before I can SCHEDULE my first pre-op class. Bummer.

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Wendy,

 

I saw your post about the seminar you attended at Northwestern with Dr. Nagle....I was at the same one.  Apparently, they moved there was just a big mix-up in the scheduling that night.  I wouldn't let that deter you from Northwestern.

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Hello all.

Just wondering for those who have been through the process when your nutrition classes were held. I am trying to figure out my work/school schedule for April and I'm afraid to pick up shifts because it is so hard to get appointments and stuff I don't ever want work to interfere with appointments. Were they evening or day classes, where were they and how long were the classes.

 

Hope everyone is doing well.

I have my intake on the 19th starting to get excited.

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Classes are usually a month apart and held in the afternoons for an hour and a half.

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Wendy,

I saw your post about the seminar you attended at Northwestern with Dr. Nagle....I was at the same one. Apparently, they moved there was just a big mix-up in the scheduling that night. I wouldn't let that deter you from Northwestern.

I am moving forward with Northwestern. My intake appointment is a week from Monday, and I was able to score someone else's canceled nutritionist consult two days later.

I had mixed feelings about taking that appointment, because it conflicts with a work meeting that I really should be at. On the other hand, taking it shaves almost a month off my timeline. Short term, the meeting will either be rescheduled or covered by my boss, and long term it's to everybody's benefit that I get healthier sooner.

Edited by WendyH
heddamae likes this

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Hello all.

Just wondering for those who have been through the process when your nutrition classes were held. I am trying to figure out my work/school schedule for April and I'm afraid to pick up shifts because it is so hard to get appointments and stuff I don't ever want work to interfere with appointments. Were they evening or day classes, where were they and how long were the classes.

 

Hope everyone is doing well.

I have my intake on the 19th starting to get excited.

 

Some classes are in the morning and some are in the afternoon (you can choose what works best for your schedule).  I have a couple of mine scheduled at 3:30pm and one scheduled at 9:00am.  They last about an hour and a half.

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BigSweetJohn - Have you had your Nutrition II class yet? Have you met with the surgeon yet? You said your husband was 1.5 months ahead of you on his path to surgery. Is he getting close to having a date yet? You guys and your son must be getting very excited by now.

Pierce1013 - You're between your NP and nutritionist appointments, right? How did things go on Thursday? Were you able to queue up any more steps on your path to surgery?

everybreakingwave - If you're meeting with the surgeon, you're already done with your NP consult, nutritional consult, and first class, right? Your psych consult looks to have been just about a month ago. Have you met with Dr. Nagle yet? How many more steps are left on the path between you and the OR?

heddamae - You mentioned we were at the same information session. Where are you now on your path?

As for me, my appointment with Kaitlin is Monday afternoon, and Holly is Wednesday morning. I went ahead and did the psych consult Feb 23. Brad said he would be giving me the referral, and I imagine they have that by now. The other thing that should have gone directly to their office is the spirometry results from this past summer when I did some allergy testing (figured it couldn't hurt to share information on my pulmonary status since the data exists. On Monday I'll confirm that those two items have made it to my file.

I sent my PCP referral and insurance card with my original application, and on Monday I'll be showing up with a ton of other records as well: recent labs, sleep study and follow-up report from my CPAP machine demonstrating compliance, upper and lower GI reports and images (including diagnosis and image of hiatal hernia), and an abdominal ultrasound report and video visualizing my gallstones.

I figure if it exists and provides information that might be relevant to gastrointestinal surgery, I might as well share it. :)

I'm do ready to get this show on the road. I've been holding off on making any meaningful changes to my habits until my intake appointment. One of the questions I'm anxious for them to answer is when I get to start losing weight and when they're going to give me the instructions on how they want me to do it.

Looking forward to it. ;)

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WendyH- I have completed my 2nd nutrition class (BigSweetJohn was in my 2nd class).  I meet with Dr. Nagle for the first time on Wednesday this week.  I have my approval from the dietitian (Holly Herrington), psychologist (Dr. Saks) and my PCP.  I never met with Kaitlyn.  I got into the program through a referral from my doctor to Dr. Kushner (obesity specialist).  So, I do have regular follow-up with Dr. Kushner along the way.  And although I have already received my approvals, I also continue to meet with Dr. Saks and Holly (in addition to the nutrition classes).  I'm down about 25 pounds so far, hoping to drop as much as I can before surgery.  I keep a food log on myfitnesspal (heddamae, if anyone would like to friend me).  Hoping to have surgery in May.

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Glad to hear all of you are making steady progress.  Best of luck as things continue to develop.

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Hey all

I had my intake with Kaitlyn and it went great. I am hoping that it goes well with the dietician on April 1st its with Holly. Im hoping that Holly will approve me right away so I can start my nutrition classes in April and get in with the surgeon asap. Does anyone have tips for meeting with the dietician things that I should bring or stuff to prepare myself for? Im really hoping the process moves as fast as it can. Im in nursing school and I would love to be able to have surgery the end of june or july but I feel like that will be pushing it even though I have everything done already. Kaitlyn said its not impossible but we will have to see no guarantees which is totally understandable. How soon after you started nutrition classes did you get your surgery dates?

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I managed to have both appointments the same week. On Monday Kaitlin braced me for the possibility that Holly could require additional sessions with her before releasing me for my presurgical classes.

This morning I met with Holly, who was very knowledgeable and quite delightful. I don't know what in particular she might have been listening for, but she released me for my classes and asked me to schedule a 6-week follow up with her to check in as I progress through my classes. She said I'm tracking for a July or August surgery date, and now I'm awaiting the call from the schedulers to get the first classes on the books.

Good luck next Tuesday.

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I had my appointment with Dr. Nagle yesterday.  I really liked him.  He said we are probably looking at a June surgery date with waiting for the insurance approval to come back and then getting on the surgery schedule.  I was really hoping it would be sooner (and I'm still holding out hope it will be May), but at least things are still moving forward.  My birthday is in June, so this could just be my birthday gift to myself.  I also met with his scheduler who handles all the insurance submissions and approvals.  Her name is "Q", and she was also very pleasant.  I have been very pleased with how wonderful everyone has been to work with.

 

Pierce1013...welcome to the process.  I think you will really like Holly.  She has been a great help to me.  I have another appointment with her tomorrow.  She approved me at my first visit, but did also want me to follow up with her.  I had the same with my psychologist, Dr. Saks.  He did approve me for the surgery, but we have continued to meet during this process.  I think the support and ongoing education are extremely invaluable.

 

Wendy...I'm glad to hear things went well with Holly.  It sounds like you got the same outcome as I did with my visit with her.  Approval with a follow-up.  I'm sure she discussed it with you yesterday, but if you friend her on myfitnesspal, it is a great way of keeping in touch with her and she is great at responding with tips and advice if you need it along the way.

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Hi fellow Northwestern patients,

 

I just got a call from Northwestern to schedule my first appointment with Dr. Nagle and was searching for information about him on the internet and found this thread.  I'm so excited to be chatting with other patients who have used him or will be using him soon!

 

Here's my story:

 

I have been going to a therapist (Dr. Karen Stickler) for the last three years who specializes in weight issues.  She is wonderful!   A friend in California called and brought up her desire to have WLS.    Since I really knew little about WLS, I brought it up to with Karen at my next meeting and learned that the majority of her practice was approving folks for WLS for Northwestern.  Very interesting.  After talking it over with her, she thought I'd be a very good candidate for the surgery so from there I looked further in to it.

 

I went to my first info session on 1/15, sent in my paperwork the next day and heard nothing for a week.  Called the office and they told me to wait another week. Called again and they still didn't have me on any list.   I had Karen finally put in a call to them and found out that I did indeed get Kaitlin's go ahead to schedule my first meeting back on 1/19 and it then sat and no one did anything with that approval.   Ugh!  A very frustrating beginning and then to make things worse,  I couldn't get in to a PCP for 3 more weeks and a nutritionist for 8 more weeks!   I called every other day to see about cancellations and got lucky and was able to see Dr. Courtney Noble on 2/23 (she is awesome) and nutritionist Erica Battin (she's new) on 2/27.  Yeah! Finally things were moving.  :)

 

I then had my first nutrition class on 3/5 and met Laurie Maimonides.  She also is fabulous.  She wrangled together all my lose pieces and told me who to meet with and when.  I felt until that point that I wasn't on anyone's radar and that no one was overseeing my case.  Having Laurie direct the next steps was awesome.   So now I have my second visit with my PCP Dr. Noble on 3/30, my next nutrition class on 4/9 and then a second visit with my nutritionist on 4/30.   My therapist submitted her paperwork and that's how I finally was able to get my appointment with Dr. Nagle.

 

I only wish I would have found this thread earlier as I was getting very upset with how long it was taking to get appointments scheduled and the vagueness on who to see first, second or third.   Reading back on how it's been going for many of you has been great.   I know now that I'm not alone!  ;)

 

So I have a few questions for you all if you don't mind answering them:

 

Heather:   What insurance do you have?  Did they say June due to insurance reasons or is Dr. Nagle's schedule full until June?   I was hoping for a June surgery and it looks like I'm a month behind you, so am wondering if I'll be pushed to July.

 

All:  Did you have to do a sleep study or endoscopy and if so, who asks you to do them?  You're PCP or Dr. Nagle?  I was on a website called BariatricPal and is seems like a lot of folks need to have one/both of those done before surgery.

 

Again, I'm so glad to have found this group!  I'm eager to hear how things go with the rest of you who are still in the process and really appreciate the support and wisdom from PapaG and EB17 as veterans having already gone through it.

 

Many thanks!

Cheryl

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